Smoke Eaters win 4-3 in thrilling shootout over Merritt Centennials. Photo: Jim Bailey

Smoke Eaters win 4-3 in thrilling shootout over Merritt Centennials. Photo: Jim Bailey

Trail Smoke Eaters win in dramatic fashion over Merritt Centennials

Smoke Eaters Teddy Lagerback scores in final seconds to tie game and force shootout against Cents

Trail Smoke Eaters goalie Ethan Shebansky earned his first BCHL win in a dramatic 4-3 shoot out against the Merritt Centennial on Saturday at the Trail Memorial Centre.

The Smokies earned four of six points last week following a 2-1 win over Wenatchee Wild Wednesday and a Friday 2-1 loss to Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

Trailing 3-2, Smokies forward Teddy Lagerback scored with just 19 seconds remaining in regulation to force the extra frame.

Shebansky made a game-saving stop in the five-minute overtime to force the shoot out.

After giving up a goal to the first shooter, the Edmonton product shut the door. Following a stop on Lagerback, Zach Michaelis tied the game on the Smokies second try, leaving Corey Cunningham to snipe the shootout winner.

The Smoke Eaters improve to 19-25-2-2 but remain one point behind the Wild for the seventh place in the Interior Conference.

Trail carried the play through the first period but Cents’ forward Ben Ward opened the scoring at 15:03 for a 1-0 lead.

The Smoke Eaters Michaelis tied it 74 seconds into the second period on a setup from Coalson Wolford and Ethan Willoughby.

Michaelis tallied his 26th of the season on the power play at 7:37 to give Trail a 2-1 lead.

However, goals from Mark Thurston at 8:35 and Connor Farren at 6:54 gave Merritt a 3-2 lead heading into the final frame.

The Smoke Eaters dominated in the third, outshooting Merritt 19-7, but Cents goalie John Hicks, also looking for his first win, was all but unbeatable.

Hicks made 53 saves on the night and Shebansky, 26. Trail was 1-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.

Michaelis earned the game’s first star, Hicks second star, and Lagerback third star.

On Friday, the Smoke Eaters suffered a hard fought 2-1 defeat to the second place Silverbacks.

Ridge Dawson put the Smoke Eaters up 1-0 4;18 into the first period, but Silverbacks forward Mathieu Bourgault tied it with just under eight minutes to play in the period.

Trail went stride for stride with Salmon Arm in the second, but Aidan Linblad scored with 8:01 left in regulation to secure the 2-1 victory.

Salmon Arm outshot Trail 32-29 and were 0-for-4 on the power play while Trail was 0-for-5.

On Wednesday, Mar. 9, Evan Fradette stopped 47 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Wild in Wenatchee. Lagerback scored both goals in the first period to give Trail a 2-0 lead.

Quinn Emerson cut the lead to one on a power play goal before the period was out, but that was as close as the Wild would get.

Wenatchee outshot Trail 48-31. The Smoke Eaters went 1-for-3 on the power play, and the Wild 1-for-5.

The Smoke Eaters travel to Wenatchee for a three game set starting on Thursday with the puck drop at Toyota Town Centre at 6 p.m. Friday’s game goes at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday’s match at 6 p.m.

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